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City of Westminster


									City of Westminster
                                                                                     Item No.


Decision-maker                          Date             Title of Report:
CABINET MEMBER                          22 Sept          Implementation of the new
FOR STREET                              2004             Highways Maintenance
ENVIRONMENT                                              Management Plan

CLASSIFICATION FOR GENERAL                               Report of Director of Environment
RELEASE                                                  and Leisure

Wards Involved                       All Wards

Policy Context                       Safeguarding and improving the street
                                     environment to aid the efficient and effective use
                                     of the highway infrastructure

Financial Summary                    The Council’s systems of maintaining highways
                                     at public expenses are critical to its defence
                                     against personal injury accident claims on
                                     highways (known as the Section 58 defence).

                                     The increased frequency of inspections, plus
                                     the new investigatory levels, may result in
                                     additional works expenditure, but it is hoped to
                                     meet this from within existing budgets

Report Author                        John Roberts Ext.3080

1.        Summary

1.1       The proposed Highways Maintenance Management Plan (HMMP) is
          the Council‟s response to the „Delivering Best Value in Highway
          Maintenance - Code of Practice for Maintenance Management‟
          published by the former Department for Environment, Transport and
          the Regions (DETR) in July 2001 and endorsed by a number of
          organisations, including the Department for Transport (DfT) in its
          former guise as part of DETR .

1.2       It is anticipated that this Plan will form a significant element of a future
          Asset Management Plan, the need for which has been encouraged by
          the DfT in their “Full Guidance for Local Transport Plans – Second
          Edition (Draft for Consultation – July 2004), which in London is
          equivalent to the Council‟s Local Implementation Plan.


2.1       That approval be given to adopt and implement the Highway
          Maintenance Management Plan (Appendix 3) in time for the coming
          into operation of the Council's new Highways and Transportation
          contract(s) on 1st October 2004.

3.        Background Information

3.1       In July 2001, the former DETR published „Delivering Best Value in
          Highway Maintenance - Code of Practice for Maintenance
          Management‟, in partnership with a number of other organisations,
          including the Local Government Association and Transport for London.
          This document was intended as a guide to highways authorities in
          reviewing their highway maintenance policies and procedures. It was
          also expected that the Courts would quickly recognise the new Code of
          Practice in dealing with personal injury accident claims on highways.

3.2       The production of a „maintenance manual‟ was identified in the Best
          Value Review of Transportation Programme Delivery, completed in
          October 2002 and incorporated in the 2003/04 Environment & Leisure
          Service Plan as a priority.

3.3       In April 2004 the County Surveyors‟ Society published the „Framework
          for Highway Asset Management‟. The DfT was significantly involved in
          the development of this document. The DfT has “encouraged” highway
          authorities to prepare Transport Asset Management Plans as part of
          the guidance for the next 5 year Local Transport Plans, a key element
          of which will be the HMMP.

4.        Detail

4.1       The Code of Practice for Maintenance Management had a number of
          objectives, namely to encourage:

              the development, adoption and regular review of policies for
               highway maintenance, consistent with the wider principles of
               integrated transport, sustainability and Best Value;

              a focus on the needs of users and the community, and their active
               involvement in the development and review of policies, priorities
               and programmes;

              harmonisation of highway maintenance practice and standards
               where this is consistent with users' expectations, whilst retaining
               reasonable diversity consistent with local choice;

              the adoption of an efficient and consistent approach in the
               collection, processing and recording of highway inventory, highway
               condition and status information for the purpose of both local and
               national needs assessment, management and performance

              the adoption and regular review of a risk management regime in the
               determination of local technical and operational standards.

4.2       The Highway Maintenance Management Plan (HMMP) has been
          developed in line with these objectives over the last two years, by staff
          from within the Highways Client team and from the Council‟s highways
          consultant, Babtie Group Limited, in particular the highways inspectors.
          The Council‟s Risk and Insurance Manager is also aware of the
          document and will be involved in the preparatory training and

4.3       The HMMP includes:
           the “Network Hierarchy” schedule and plans;
           the safety inspection schedule (included in network hierarchy);
           the service inspection schedule (to be developed over next 3
           the “Westminster code of practice for highways inspections”;
           the “Risk register for highway safety defects”.

4.4       The key points that need to be considered are as follows:

          1         The HMMP will be a vital tool in guiding those engaged in
                    managing the highway, in particular highways inspectors.

          2         The “Network Hierarchy”, which defines the status of all
                    highways maintained by the City Council, has been completely
                    reviewed. The Code of Practice provides a carriageway
                    hierarchy as a reference point for development. This is different
                    to the City Council‟s hierarchy as set out in the Unitary
                    Development Plan (UDP) and has been developed to suit
                    Westminster. The table below shows how these differences
                    have been reconciled, but it should be noted that Category 3b
                    „Secondary Distributor‟ has been used to represent
                    carriageways that, from a highways maintenance perspective,
                    should be treated as a higher priority than Local Roads.

Category Code of Practice                        Proposed               UDP definition
         reference                               highways
         hierarchy                               maintenance
1                Motorway                        Not applicable         Not applicable
2                Strategic route                 Strategic route (all   GLA roads
3a               Main Distributor                London Distributor     London Distributor
3b               Secondary                       Local Distributor      Local Distributor
4a               Link Road                       Local Link Road        Not applicable
4b               Local Access                    Local Access           Not applicable
                 Road                            Road
4c               Not applicable                  Shared Street          Not applicable

          3         Safety inspection frequencies for both carriageways and
                    footways have been reviewed in line with the Code of Practice
                    for Highways Maintenance Management. It is important that the
                    Cabinet Member is aware of the proposed safety inspection
                    frequencies when approving the recommendation, as detailed in
                    the HMMP, but summarised below.

Feature                 “Network Hierarchy” Description                      Frequency

Road                    London Distributor                                   1 month
                        Local Distributor                                    1 month
                        Local Access Road                                    3 months
                        Local Link Road                                      3 months
                        Shared Street                                        3 months

Footway                 Prestige Walking Zone                                1 month
                        Primary Walking Route                                1 month
                        Secondary Walking Route                              3 months
                        Link Footway                                         6 months
                        Local Access Footway                                 6 months

Cycleway        Part of Carriageway                                          As for Roads
cycle    lanes
and       cycle

                    It should be noted, however, that the principle of „no reduction in
                    current service levels‟ has been adopted. Therefore, for
                    example, if a road was currently inspected every Quarter, but
                    the review has identified that 6 months is adequate, the
                    proposed inspection defaults to Quarterly.

          4         Service inspections are targetted at serviceability issues rather
                    than safety issues. The location and extent of these have not
                    been defined, although the proposed inspection frequencies and
                    investigatory levels have been reviewed. Examples of service
                    inspections may be, for example, where enhanced maintenance
                    standards may apply to higher profile, busy shopping streets.
                    Other annual surveys, for example the annual condition survey
                    of all roads, would also fall into this category.

          5         A review has been undertaken of all types of defect likely to
                    arise on Westminster‟s highways. This has resulted in a new
                    range of „investigatory levels‟, for example the investigatory level
                    for a trip hazard on the footway is 15mm. It is important that the
                    Cabinet Member is aware of the proposed investigatory levels
                    when approving the recommendation, as detailed in the HMMP
                    but exemplified below.

 Item                                   Defect                       Investigatory Level

 carriageway                            pothole                      20mm depth
 pedestrian crossing                    trip/pothole                 15mm depth
 footway                                trip/pothole                 15mm depth
                                        rocking slab/block           15mm vertical
                                        open joint                   20mm wide x 20mm
                                                                     depth  200mm length
 kerbing                                dislodged                    50mm horizontally
                                                                     15mm vertically

          6         The assessment of defects during the inspections will be
                    undertaken as risk assessments. For example, if a footway trip
                    hazard is identified, the Highway Inspector will be required to
                    assess the probability of the hazard causing an accident and the
                    likely impact should an accident occur. This will determine the
                    appropriate action to be taken, if any. A Risk Register has been
                    prepared, in conjunction with the Highway Inspectors, as
                    guidance for carrying out these risk assessments, with the
                    principles shown below.

 probability             very low             Low           medium       high    very high
                          (1)                (2)             (3)         (4)       (5)
 impact 
                         1                2                 3        4           5
 Negligible (1)
                         2                4                 6        8           10
 low (2)

                         3                6                 9         12     15
Noticeable (3)
                         4                8                 12        16
                                                                      16     20
 high (4)
                         5                10                15
                                                            15        20
                                                                      20     25
 extreme (5)

          7         When the risk assessment determines that a repair is required,
                    this will fall into one of two categories: Category 1 or 2. Category
                    1 defects will require action within 24 hours, at most, which may
                    only be to make safe. Category 2 defects can be repaired over a
                    longer timescale. Information on these and the response times
                    is set out in the HMMP, but summarised below.

                      Risk                Defect                  Priority
                      Factor              Category                Response
                       25                      1                         1
                       15 – 20                 1                         2
                          9 - 12                    2                  3
                          5 - 8                     2                  4
                          1 - 4                     2                  5

          8         It should be noted that TLRN routes and boundary roads
                    maintained by neighbouring boroughs have not been included
                    for safety inspections as there may be liability issues should the
                    City Council carry out formal inspections to supplement
                    inspections already being carried out by the other authorities. It
                    is, however, proposed to carry out inspections of items for which
                    the City Council remains responsible, e.g. street seats and
                    street nameplates, on a Quarterly cycle.

                    All roads forming the TLRN have Priority (Red) Route controls
                    on them. There are side roads to the TLRN with Red Route
                    controls. TfL is responsible as traffic authority for the lengths of
                    these side roads, but the City Council remains the highway
                    authority. TfL is therefore responsible for all traffic signs on
                    these side roads, but the City Council is responsible as highway
                    authority for the street lighting, footways and carriageways. TfL
                    inspect the TLRN within Westminster on a monthly cycle.

          9         The inspection system does enable the highway inspector to
                    use his discretion when assessing the risk of a defect. To assist
                    this, the Risk Register does recognise, for footway defects, that
                    there may be locations that warrant a more rapid response due
                    to the proximity of vulnerable users. Examples where a more
                    rapid response time may be appropriate would be where there

                    are hospitals, medical centres, nursing homes, old people‟s
                    homes, schools and public buildings.

4.5       Once approved, it is proposed to implement the HMMP from the start
          of the new Highways and Transportation contracts. This will require the
          management system to be set up to recognise the defect categories
          and response times set out above, and also involve a significant
          amount of training for highways inspectors. It is worth noting that
          highways inspections will be a client function under the new contract.

5.        Before and After: a comparison between the current and
          proposed inspection and repair regimes

5.1       The purpose of this section is to demonstrate that the proposed regime
          for inspection and repairs is fundamentally a much better way of
          utilising available resources on highways maintenance, across the
          whole range of maintenance activities (see also Appendix 1). At
          present, due to the financial problems encountered in the Autumn of
          2001, and since, the whole thrust of reactive maintenance has been
          directed towards emergency (Category 1) repairs, at the expense of
          more planned repairs: this is not good asset management. By adopting
          the new regime, it is hoped that, over time, an overall improvement will
          be achieved both in the visible condition of the highway, and in the
          ability to respond to non safety-related requests for improvements. The
          following table provides a comparison between relevant aspects of the
          current and proposed arrangements.

        Current arrangements                                        Proposed arrangements
Work to „intervention‟ levels, at which                     Adopts „investigatory‟ levels, which
repairs are carried out, eg 20mm for                        are to lower thresholds than currently
footway trips and 50mm for                                  adopted, eg 15mm for footway trips
carriageway potholes.                                       and 20mm for carriageway potholes.
Intervention levels and maintenance                         The highway inspector will, through
regime give no real discretion to                           risk assessment, be ordering defect
effect longer term repairs where                            repairs over longer, more
intervention level not reached.                             manageable timescales. This will be
                                                            facilitated by the significantly lower
                                                            thresholds noted above.
Apart from the definitions of                               Specific reference is made to all types
intervention levels, this is all-                           of hazards, eg iron works, drainage,
embracing and does not adequately                           private forecourts, road markings,
cover the various types of defect that                      non-illuminated and illuminated signs
occur.                                                      and bollards, signals, safety fences
                                                            and barriers and other general
                                                            highway issues.
The performance standards are not                           The new arrangements would, over
being met due to the persistently high                      time, result in a more balanced set of

levels of emergency repairs (2 hour                         response times for the range of
callouts), which were 1311 in July                          defects. This would simplify effective
2004,.                                                      resource management and help
                                                            ensure performance standards are
Inspections are carried out either                          Although footways and carriageways
quarterly or monthly. During the                            were reviewed separately, a single
review, 45 locations have been                              inspection frequency was adopted
identified as not currently included on                     which took the shorter frequency in
the inspection regime.                                      every case.

See section 5.2 for a detailed
comparison between the „before and
after‟ situations.
The focus is on safety inspections,                         There will now be the facility for
with limited account being taken of                         carrying out service inspections, in
serviceability issues, eg for                               addition to safety inspections, where
inspections or defect standards.                            resources allow. These will look at the
                                                            same defect types, but to a still lower
                                                            investigatory level, eg 10mm for
                                                            footway trips. This will facilitate using
                                                            higher standards in approved
                                                            locations, eg prime sites.
Little longer term, planned „patching‟                      If risk assessed as Priority Response
works to footways or carriageways is                        5 (works to be programmed), these
carried out due to the focus on                             would not be undertaken immediately,
emergency works.                                            but evaluated for possible future
                                                            planned schemes, where funding
There is no special account taken for                       Wherever there is considered to be a
pedestrian crossings, ie the                                pedestrian crossing route, whether
intervention level is still 50mm,                           controlled or non-controlled, it is
although the Highway Inspector may                          treated as a footway defect and the
use his discretion                                          investigatory level is 15mm.
No specific account is taken of open                        Open joints are specifically
joints in areas of paved footways,                          recognised and assessed
unless they create a trip hazard.

5.2       The following table shows a comparison between the inspection cycles
          used at present and those proposed. Notes are included where
          appropriate to explain differences but, in general terms, there will be no
          less frequent inspections made (other than where part of the Transport
          for London Network(TLRN)) and, in fact, at least 53 locations will be
          inspected more frequently.

        Current                            Proposed                               Notes
inspection frequencies              Inspection frequencies
   Type      Number of                 Type        Number of

                  streets                                streets
Monthly         171               Monthly              224          The increase reflects roads that
                                                                    have been reviewed and
                                                                    assessed as warranting monthly
Quarterly       1375              Quarterly            1352         The reduction reflects roads that
                                                                    have been reviewed and
                                                                    assessed as warranting quarterly

                                                                    Includes inspections of TfL routes
                                                                    (TLRN), for which the City Council
                                                                    has no direct responsibility.
6 monthly       0                 6 monthly            15           (i)      Includes roads assessed
                                                                             for the first time and
                                                                             deemed appropriate for 6
                                                                             monthly inspections.
Not             45                                                  These locations were not included
included in                                                         in the current inspection list, but
current                                                             have now been identified and
inspection                                                          included in the proposed list.
Totals          1591                                   1591

5.3       An analysis has been carried out of current 2 hour callouts, for a typical
          week, and these have been re-assessed using the new inspection
          regime. The results of this are contained in Appendix 2, but they reveal
          that there is no reduction in service levels. In fact, it is hoped that
          defects will be identified earlier (15mm in the footway and 20mm in the
          carriageway), thus enabling repairs in a target time of at least 7 days,
          rather than everything being carried out as 2 hour callouts.

6.        Financial Implications

6.1       There are no direct financial implications arising from this report,
          although the HMMP will guide future maintenance expenditure. Any
          financial impact brought about by the change in maintenance regime
          will be closely monitored to ensure that budgets are not overspent.

6.2       The Council‟s Risk and Insurance Manager has advised that the City
          Council received the following claims concerning alleged highways
          defects during the period 1997/98 to 2003/04 and these resulted in the
          following payments (bearing in mind that many claims could be made
          up to three years after the alleged accident, and that the payment
          figures for recent years are incomplete):

Acc Date                                  Estimate            Paid to Date   No. Claims Settled For
1997/1998                            £151,973.00              £686,645.98           240        113
1998/1999                             £11,325.02              £811,117.40           292        132
1999/2000                             £86,637.31              £374,847.49           389        330
2000/2001                           £288,578.47                £120,550.75    405    363
2001/2002                           £421,620.73                £104,263.88    366    315
2002/2003                           £262,214.77                 £36,107.49    314    226
2003/2004                           £494,397.00                   £426.78     216     41
TOTALS:                           £1,716,746.30              £2,133,959.77   2216   1520

7.        Legal Implications

7.1       The Council‟s systems of maintaining highways at public expenses are
          critical to its defence against personal injury accident claims on
          highways (known as the Section 58 defence). The Council has a good
          record at present in defending against such claims as demonstrated by
          the recent High Court case of Owen v City of Westminster where the
          court found our inspection system to be adequate and the claim was
          dismissed, and it is therefore expected that the new HMMP will be
          equally well received by the Courts and should enhance the Council's
          ability to defend against accident claims.

7.2       The Council‟s Risk and Insurance Manager is aware of the new HMMP
          and will be involved in the training and implementation of the new

8.        Staffing Implications

8.1       As part of the re-let of the Highways and Transportation contracts, the
          highways inspectors, currently employed by Babtie, will be eligible for
          Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981
          (TUPE) transfer into the client team and can exercise their rights within
          three months of the new arrangements taking effect, i.e. by 1 st January

9.        Outstanding Issues

9.1       Training of highways inspectors is imperative before the HMMP can be
          implemented. This training will need to be undertaken before 1st
          October 2004 in order to be ready for the new contract start.

10.       Performance Plan Implications

10.1      The Environment and Leisure Business Plan for 2004/05 includes a
          Local Performance Indicator for routine inspections and it is important
          that the target of 100% completion on time is achieved, despite the
          changes brought about by the HMMP.

11.       Consultation

11.1      Not applicable.

12.       Crime and Disorder Act

12.1      Highways inspectors will, in addition to the routine safety inspections,
          report other defects, for example street lighting defects. This will
          indirectly assist in reducing the risk of crime by ensuring defects are
          dealt with as quickly as possible.

13.       Health and Safety Issues

13.1      A key part of the new HMMP is the undertaking of a risk assessment of
          reported or identified defects. These will be „investigated‟ by the
          highways inspector by carrying out a risk assessment of the defect. It is
          essential these risk assessments are carried out competently and
          consistently in order to maintain a safe public highway.

14.       Co-operation with Health Authorities

14.1      A well maintained highway should reduce the number of NHS patients
          receiving treatment arising from injuries sustained from falls.

15.       Human Rights Act 1998

15.1      All highway users have a right to expect to be able to use the network
          safely. The proposed inspection regime will target action to those sites
          identified for priority treatment.

16.       Conclusions and Reasons for the Proposed Decision

16.1 The Highways Maintenance Management Plan is submitted with this
     report (as an Appendix) for approval by the Cabinet Member for Street
     Environment. It adheres to the Government‟s Code of Practice for
     Maintenance Management issued in July 2001 by the former
     Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and
     reflects the County Surveyor Society‟s “Framework for Highway Asset
     Management” issued in April 2004. It is desirable to have the amended
     systems derived from this Plan implemented in time for the start of the
     Council's new Highways and Transportation contracts in October 2004.

          CONTACT John Roberts ON 020 7641 3080; EMAIL ADDRESS
 FAX NUMBER 020 7641 2046


          The documents used or referred to in compiling the report were: -

1         Best Value Review of Transportation Programme Delivery, completed
          in October 2002.

2         Delivering Best Value in Highway Maintenance - Code of Practice for
          Maintenance Management, published in July 2001 and endorsed by a
          number of organisations, included the Department for Transport.

3         Framework for Highway Asset Management, published in April 2004 by
          the Department for Transport.


For completion by Cabinet Member

    Declaration of Interest

I have no interest to declare in respect of this report

     ………………………………. Signed ……………………………. Date

I have to declare an interest

State nature of interest ……..…………………………………………


………………………………….. Signed ……………………………. Date

(N.B: If you have an interest you should seek advice as to whether it is
appropriate to make a decision in relation to this matter.)

For the reasons set out above, I agree the recommendation(s) in the report
entitled Implementation of the new Highways Maintenance Management
Plan and reject any alternative options which are referred to but not

Signed ………………………………………………

Cabinet Member for Street Environment

Date …………………………………………………

NOTE: If you do not wish to approve the recommendations, or wish to make
an alternative decision, it is important that you consult the report author, the
Director of Legal and Administrative Services , the Director of Finance and, if
there are staffing implications, the Head of Personnel (or their
representatives) so that (1) you can be made aware of any further relevant
considerations that you should take into account before making the decision
and (2) your reasons for the decision can be properly identified and recorded,
as required by law.

Note to Cabinet Member: The decision will now be published and
copied to the Members of the relevant Overview & Scrutiny Committee
and may not be implemented until five working days have elapsed from
publication to allow the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to decide
whether it wishes to call it in.


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